U.S. science group backs DOT on Toyota throttles


The U.S. National Academy of Sciences issued a report Wednesday authenticating last February’s conclusion by the U.S. Transportation Department that the electronic throttle control systems of Toyota Motor Corp. vehicles are not responsible for incidents of unintended acceleration.

The academy issued a statement saying the decision by the department’s National Highway Traffic Safety Administration to close its investigation of Toyota’s electronic throttle control systems was “justified.”

The academy also cautioned that the administration will need to become more familiar with how manufacturers design safety and security into electronics systems.

“As these electronics systems become more complex, interconnected, and capable, safety assurance demands will grow,” the academy said, noting it is “troubling” that the administration could not convincingly address public concerns about the safety of automotive electronics.

Toyota said in a statement that the automaker “appreciates” the academy’s findings and will continue to cooperate with transportation regulatory authorities to enhance the safety of automobiles.

Last February, the administration attributed reports about sudden acceleration problems in Toyota vehicles to drivers pressing the gas pedal by mistake and to two other issues — pedals sticking or becoming entrapped by floor mats — remedied in subsequent safety recalls.